My Falcon Club Wagon Page
(including Falcon Station Bus,Pickup and Econoline models. '61-'67)
This is what my van looked like when new.....
...and how it looks now.
I am in the process of "building" another 'cave van'. My previous cave van was a one-ton Chevy with no windows.....A great caving vehicle, but I got a lot of complaints from passengers! For the platform I chose a '65 Falcon club wagon. Why, you ask? Well, for one thing, it offers the most interior room for the exterior size of anything out there, due in part to the "forward control" construction-the front seat occupants sit in front of the steering axle. They are really neat vehicles, if you would like a little history, visit Mac's site (they have done their homework). Secondly, after having a terrible time with the previous cave van getting stuck on level ground, I decided the next rendition would be four wheel drive. The Club Wagon/Econoline platform has parallel leaf springs front and rear, making the conversion a snap.(more details later on) Thirdly, I knew where a Club wagon in decent shape was located, and the price was right!(and look at all those winders!!)
Okay, here's my game plan on the 4x4 running gear: After much research and consideration on what this rig will be expected to do here is what I came up with. First I'll address what this rig is intended for; Hauling four or five people and their associated gear to and from caves(both near and far,on and off road)comfortably,provide a warm dry place for my spouse and I to sleep(passengers have to fend for themselves!)and do it all reliably and be conventional enough that finding repair parts in some backwater town won't be a problem. Now, what it's not intended for; mud-bogging,high speed action,etc.
WIth the above requirements in mind, and the meager resources in my pocketbook(I am currently a full-time Geology student), I set out on my quest for the ultimate cave van. A lot of searching,checking and measuring showed me that a Dana 30 front end from a Jeep Cherokee(XJ) would fit the bill perfectly. The tread width is identical to my van. They aren't bulletproof, but one should hold up well in the service intended. The Jeep uses a four-link/coil spring arrangement, but I have already obtained new spring pads from Mopar Performance to make it an easy swap. I also was able to determine that there is a boss on top of the driver's side spindle which can easily be drilled to accept the steering arm that will be necessary for the 'for/aft' drag link steering arrangement on the van. As an added bonus,the wheel bolt pattern is the same and this swap will give me front disc brakes! Another reason I chose to use the Jeep axle is the driver's side driveshaft arrangement. This will make transfer case choices much more straightforward. Current plans are for a three speed(I know! but I am stuck with a column shift, and don't really want an automatic)tranny and transfer case from a '67-'71 Bronco. This swap will require only the fabrication of a t/case cross-member,custom length driveshafts and a small amount of welding on the spring perches. The van currently has a 9" Ford axle which I will probably retain, though I will have to 'flip' the spring perches to get a level ride height. I have also toyed with the idea of using an 8.8" Ranger dif in conjunction with a limited slip carrier out of a Mustang(I already have the carrier),but I think I'd be better off saving my money and buying a locker for the 9". I suppose that how my driveshaft angle turns out will be the determining factor in that debate-the rear driveshaft is going to be terribly short anyway (and we all know how low 9" Ford pinions are!). I plan on swapping in a 302 in place of the old 240-it's a bolt-in (not so on 144/170 equipped E models) That will require a larger radiator I am sure, but I'll leap that hurdle when I get there. I have procured the interior of a late model conversion van-sofa bed and all!. And, yes, there is enough room for that baby to fit in there! The ol' gal is currently sitting on neat Ford aluminum Rally's off of a Ranger, but I have some Cherokee wheels that I may switch to.....?? Now, if I could just figure a way to finance this venture!
UPDATEJan,00. While on the quest for a front axle for the Falcon, I found an '89 Cherokee that had had an engine fire. Not long after that I found out that I could not get a title due to circumstances beyond my control(legal issues/mechanics lean[last guy to "own it"]/rightful ownership/improperly registered/ it ain't worth it!) So, I lit in and repaired the Cherokee, it is now on the road, and I guess I am abandoning the 4x4 Falcon project :`( If you are interested I will sell the following: '85 5.0 complete with ECM and harness from the Crown Vic. 8.8 Mustang rear axle (2.73 limited slip), Aluminum V/8 truck bellhousing, small Mustang(85)5.0 manual transmission flywheel, lightweight (nippondenso) gear reduction starter with standard two-bolt nose and a custom adapter and specialty nose to utilize the small flwheel with a big bellhousing, four new 14" Mud tires on Ranger aluminum wheels(see van picture)any or all Club wagon parts (I doubt that I would sell any glass, as I would like to keep it weathertight, but I would sell the whole vehicle-(no title of course)email me if you're interested. ks
3-10-00, I finally got a clear title! So, if someone doesn't buy it before I get time to resume building, I guess the project is back on!
Here are some related links:
Mac's auto parts' Econoline web page
NW Falcon's E-series catalog
Falcon Man's site-not much E-series stuff though
Ford classifieds with some E-series stuff
An interesting sounding Station Bus link that I have never been able to get to work??
A cool 63 club wagon site
Another Econoline page
a NEW! Econoline/Falcon link! great page, with V8 conversion info!
5-99,I have obtained a donor car to provide the engine and misc. It's a 1987 Ford Crown Vic with a 5.0 litre (302)
8-99, I have the 5.0 out and on the garage floor!
11-99, I found out something cool a while back-the vehicle speed sensor from the Crown Vic has the same # of teeth as the speedo gear from the van and will fit the van tranny with only a minor trim to the end of the pilot. ( I am gonna stick the 302 in without the transfer case for a while-I need the transportation....)Now the only major obstacle I face in hooking up the EFI is either putting the fuel pump in the tank, or finding a frame rail mounted fuel pump worth the money....
My home page
under construction-more to come...I have pictures of both the old and new cave vans, but I need to scan them in...(note;12-8-99 I scanned in a pic of the old kave van-it is linked up above in the text)
If you have any questions, comments, or new links for me, email me here